Toyota celebrated its three-millionth vehicle manufactured in Australia at a ceremony today at its Altona plant in Melbourne. The milestone vehicle – a Camry Hybrid – represents almost 50 years of Toyota manufacturing operations in this country.
Local car-making by Toyota has resulted in direct investment of about $1.5 billion in its Australia operations since 2004 with a current employment base of over 4,000 people.
The first Australian-built Toyota, a Tiara, was produced in April 1963. Today, the local company produces Camry, Camry Hybrid and Aurion sedans for the domestic and overseas markets.
It took Toyota more than 29 years to produce the first one million cars in Australia, a further 12 years to build the second million and just eight years for the third.
In another milestone this year, Camry marks 25 years as a locally built car with production of 1.8 million vehicles since 1987. More than one million of these cars have been exported, mainly to the Middle East.
Toyota Australia’s executive director manufacturing and purchasing Chris Harrod said production of the three-millionth car symbolised the long-term passion and commitment of employees, suppliers and dealers.
“Toyota continues to lead the industry in local manufacturing, sales and exports, thanks to its support in building the best vehicles in the market,” Mr Harrod told an enthusiastic crowd of Altona team members.
“The three-millionth car, Camry Hybrid, is a shining example of the quality, technology, performance, fuel economy and value for money of Toyota’s locally built cars,” he said.
Toyota Australia’s executive director sales and marketing Matthew Callachor said Australia had contributed prominently to the growth and success of Toyota Motor Corporation.
“It was here in Australia that Toyota first tasted international success – the first country outside Japan to produce Toyota cars and to build a Toyota engine manufacturing plant,” Mr Callachor said.
“Australia was the first Toyota affiliate outside Japan to export Camry and today we are among just five countries entrusted with building hybrid cars.
“We thank our loyal customers, some of the finest employees in the world, in excess of one thousand excellent local suppliers and more than 200 outstanding dealers for enabling us to achieve this proud record.”
New-generation versions of Toyota’s locally built cars have been launched in the past year.
Seventh-generation Camry went on sale late last year while second-generation Camry Hybrid and Aurion models were launched this year.
A $330 million redevelopment of the Altona engine plant is due to come on stream next month with production of four-cylinder petrol engines for the Camry and Camry Hybrid, as well as for export to other Toyota affiliates.